Estate Planning and Asset Protection in Florida
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Probably every law firm in the country that handles estate planning has or will have a client who
has a home now or who will someday move to Florida. In fact, you yourself may move there or
already have a home there! So even though you may be living or practicing far outside of
Florida, Estate Planning and Asset Protection in Florida is a resource that should be on your shelf
– and required reading before your client moves to Florida!
Estate Planning and Asset Protection in Florida is designed to help clients and their lawyers protect clients’ assets before litigation happens. While the necessity of estate planning is
understood by most clients, many fail to
grasp the importance of protecting their assets as well. Barry A. Nelson, an
industry-respected, board-certified attorney with decades of experience
counselling high-net-worth clients reveals the serious implications of ignoring
the potential liabilities that can threaten a client's assets.
Barry Nelson was among the first to advocate for asset
protection. He perceived how estate planning anticipates only the very end of a
spectrum of dangers that can adversely affect a client’s estate long before
the will is read. The state of Florida,
long considered a debtor’s haven, has fraudulent conveyance laws that prevent
transfer of assets after litigation happens. Once an accident occurs or
exposure to litigation is apparent, asset protection is significantly limited.
This work, years in the making, is like no other work on the market in
combining estate planning and asset protection as a strategy. It describes how to integrate estate planning
and asset protection for Florida residents to minimize Federal estate taxes and
maximize protection of assets and explains what options remain even in the event of a claim such as divorce, claims for alimony,
co-signings, or any number of lawsuits. While no one plan fits all, it expertly
teaches clients and lawyers how to recognize their best options in a complex
web of legal and tax relationships so the most informed decisions can be taken.
Comprehensive, yet easy-to -use, it
• explains all
the types of assets and asset protection techniques available, among them: (i)
homestead for asset protection, property tax, and limits on dispositions during
life and upon death, (ii) annuities; (iii) life insurance, (iv) retirement plan
accounts and 529 accounts, (v) spousal transfers including inter vivos QTIP
trusts and Spousal Limited Access Trusts ("SLATs"), (vi) domestic and
foreign asset protection trusts, (vii) third party created trusts, (viii) use
of partnerships and LLCs, and (ix) wage owner accounts.
• This book
also outlines the requirements to benefit from these techniques and identifies
from chapter to chapter the greatest traps for clients and their professional
advisors, that could, for example, lead to a loss of homestead status, or
permit creditors to gain access to earnings, life insurance proceeds,
annuities, proceeds from inherited IRAs, pensions, profit sharing plans, etc.;
• it offers
over 250 pages of appendices containing
supporting, illustrative sample documents, exhibits, key selections from
Florida statutes, the Florida Constitution, white papers, memoranda and
• it discusses over 500 cases;
addressing the use of limited liability partnerships and LLCs it explains why
creating trusts and LLCs in a state other than Florida (such as but not limited
to Nevada, South Dakota, Delaware and Alaska) may provide greater asset
protection than Florida;
• it considers a range of situations or
scenarios and the challenges faced by: those who, for example, become instantly
wealthy such as lottery winners, or professional athletes, celebrities or those
who receive significant bonuses; it also, addresses the challenges of same-sex
partners, the elderly who are vulnerable to financial exploitation, or children for whom a parent has had multiple
• For those
undergoing divorce, the book summarizes the laws regarding division of marital
assets upon dissolution of the marriage and
• discusses the ability of a spouse holding an
alimony judgment to access third-party-created trusts;
• it considers the protections of creating
trusts in another state or country, and
• provides the essential information clients
need to minimize estate, gift and GST taxes, and
familiarizes clients and advisors with the consequences of recent legislation,
such as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (the "2017 Tax Act") which became
effective January 1, 2018, and which significantly increased the Federal
estate, gift, and generation skipping transfer ("GST") tax
and much, much
has received numerous awards, among these, receiving his 25th recognition by
Best Lawyers in America in 2019, being top-ranked by Chambers in its High Net
Worth Guide for 2018, being asked by the Florida State Bar to author a chapter of their book, Asset Protection in Florida. There is no question that business, tax, estate
planning, and real estate lawyers will
easily find in this well-designed, information-packed volume everything
they need to better counsel and protect their clients’ assets from potential
creditor’s claims. There is no other work available like it.
Barry A. Nelson, a Florida Bar
Board Certified Tax and Wills and Trusts and Estates Attorney, is a shareholder
in the law firm of Nelson & Nelson, P.A. in North Miami Beach, Florida. He
practices in the areas of tax, estate planning and administration, asset
protection, fiduciary matters, partnerships and business law. He provides
counsel to high net worth individuals and families focusing on income, estate
and gift tax planning, and assists business owners to most effectively pass
their ownership interests from one generation to the next. He also assists
business owners, physicians, and other professionals in tax, estate and asset
protection planning. As the father of a child with autism, Mr. Nelson combines
his legal skills with compassion and understanding in the preparation of
Special Needs Trusts for children with disabilities.
Mr. Nelson has been listed in Best
Lawyers in America® since 1995 and was named their 2015 Miami Trusts and
Estates “Lawyer of the Year.” He has been named in Chambers USA: America’s
Leading Lawyers for Business receiving the highest rating of “Band 1” in the
Florida Estate Planning category from 2010-2015. He has been listed in Chambers
USA High Net Worth Guide as “Band 1” in Private Wealth Law in Florida since its
inaugural edition in 2016. Mr. Nelson has been a Martindale-Hubbell AV
Preeminent® Rated Lawyer for more than 25 years.
Mr. Nelson is a Fellow of the
American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC) and served as Chairman of
its Asset Protection Committee from 2009-2012. He has published articles in
professional Journals and he lectures extensively for professional
organizations such as ACTEC, the Florida Bar, the University of Miami
Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning, the Notre Dame Tax and Estate Planning
Institute, the Southern Federal Tax Institute (SFTI) and the Florida Institute
As the Founding Chairman of the
Asset Preservation Committee of the Real Property, Probate and Trust Law
Section of the Florida Bar from 2004-2007, he introduced and coordinated a
project to write a treatise authored by committee members entitled Asset
Protection in Florida (Florida Bar CLE 2008, 5th Edition 2017). Mr. Nelson
wrote Chapter 5, entitled “Homestead: Creditor Issues.”
Mr. Nelson served as an adjunct
professor for the University of Miami School of Law LL.M. in Taxation program
from 1998-2009 and as an adjunct professor at the University of Miami’s
Graduate Department of Accounting from 1978-1995. He is a past President of the
Greater Miami Tax Institute.
Mr. Nelson is a co-founder and
current Board Member of The Victory Center for Autism and Behavioral Challenges
(a not-for-profit corporation), and served as Board Chairman from 2000-2008. He
served as the Mayor of the Town of Golden Beach, Florida from 1993-1995.
Estate Planning and Asset Protection in Florida is an
exceptionally comprehensive and well-cited, practical resource for anyone who
practices in Florida or needs an authoritative interpretation of Florida
homestead and asset protection law. Especially useful are Nelson’s “Greatest
Traps” sections in each of the 16 chapters, which illustrate and help both
client and lawyer avoid the threat of adverse (and often hard to recognize)
legal exposure. This is an impressive book.
Stephan R. Leimberg, Publisher
Leimberg Information Services, Inc. (LISI)
Click here to read Steve Leimberg's full review
In his usual practical and excellent method of explaining
difficult subjects, Barry Nelson has produced an excellent and comprehensive
treatise on asset protection and estate planning for Florida attorneys. He has
addressed the topic with intelligence and practicality, a trait few lawyers
have, but for which Barry Nelson is a master. This treatise is indispensable for Florida practitioners and for those attorneys out of state whose clients
are moving to Florida. It is a MUST- have resource for the office.
Linda Griffin, JD LLM, ACTEC Fellow
Linda Suzzanne Griffin, P.A.
Estate Planning and Asset Protection in Florida should be in every
Florida estate planner’s library. It is the most thorough and up-to-date
analysis of Florida law on asset protection strategies that I have read to date
and includes extensive statutory and case citations as well as references to other secondary treatises and
articles. A perusal of the table of
contents will quickly demonstrate the utility of this treatise in finding
answers to every client’s questions.
Gideon Rothschild, JD CPA, Moses & Singer LLP
Fellow, The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel
This is an outstanding work by one of the top lawyers in our
field. Asset protection has become one
of the primary elements of modern estate planning, and this is one of the few
works to address the subject as an integrated part of estate planning. Asset protection is important, and if you are
an estate planner, particularly one with Florida clients (or clients with
Florida assets), you should buy and read this book. The extensive discussion of the Florida
homestead rules, which are both unique and invaluable for asset protection,
would alone be worth the price of the volume.
Howard M. Zaritsky, J.D., LL.M. (tax), tax editor for Probate
Distinguished Accredited Estate Planner and a member of the NAEPC
Estate Planning Hall of Fame, a nationally-recognized expert on estate, gift,
and generation-skipping transfer taxes, fiduciary income taxes, estate
planning, and estate administration.
Finally, a treatise that combines practical guidance and erudite
commentary in one volume. Estate Planning and Asset Protection in Florida gives
the practitioner the ability to review and understand not only the underlying
needs that vary for each client, but the application to consider as it varies
for each client. The clients of attorneys who utilize this reference are going
to be well served.
Richard C. Milstein, JD
Akerman LLP, Fellow, The American College and Trust and Estate
Barry Nelson has again distinguished himself as one of the most
knowledgeable and respected attorneys in the field of Estate Planning and the
sub-specialty Asset Protection Planning.
His treatise, Estate Planning and Asset Protection in Florida is
an excellent resource that offers a very comprehensive and well-organized
compilation of both federal and Florida laws.
Of particular significance is his analysis of the homestead
provisions contained in Florida’s state constitution as further implemented in
statutory law and the case law interpretations.
Many attorneys, both Florida licensed and out-of-state practitioners,
have incurred the wrath of the homestead laws by not being well versed in the
twists and turns that confound even those of us whose focus is almost
exclusively in the estate planning field.
It is absolutely required reading for attorneys seeking to understand
the very complex and somewhat mystifying laws that impact homestead in various
ways, including descent and devise, alienation, the rights and remedies of
creditors, estate tax apportionment, and ad valorem taxation. The author’s knowledgeable dissection of
this complex area will be of a great benefit to the readers of Estate Planning
and Asset Protection in Florida and most importantly, the clients whom we all
Charles Ian Nash, JD, LL.M (Tax), ACTEC Fellow